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Latest Posts

Medical Discovery Made By Dying Cancer Patient

By Charles Smith, MD

This post is adapted from one I wrote last week on e-Patients.net Blog.

Matthew Herper’s post about thalidomide treatment of Myeloma is a good example of how patients will contribute to medical knowledge in the future, and may form a cautionary tale for patients who get involved to this degree in formulating new treatment approaches.

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*This blog post was originally published at eDocAmerica*

Private Sector Solution Offered To Medicaid Patients In Arkansas

Beginning July 1st, eDocAmerica began offering eDoc services to Medicaid recipients and their families in Arkansas. Since there are about 800,000 Arkansas Medicaid recipients, when added to our previously covered clients, this program takes us a long way towards offering the benefit to the majority of Arkansans.

It is especially exciting to begin offering a cost effective health care benefit to this large, underserved population. eDoc services can help with so many of this patient population’s needs, including whether a child needs to be taken to see a doctor for acute care needs, to provide information that can help a patient determine if a second opinion needs to be sought for a given care situation, to provide information about medications that patients are on, to provide information to families of nursing home patients that they can use to ask intelligent questions about their family member’s care, and many others. For nursing home patients, we encourage family members to log on and ask our professionals questions about their family members anytime, for any reason.

It is a daunting task to effectively communicate the availability of this benefit to this group of patients. We’ll be working diligently over the coming weeks and months with the Arkansas Minority Affairs Commission, the Arkansas State Health Department, the Community Health Centers of Arkansas, Area Health Education Centers and Arkansas State government agents to increase awareness of this program and encourage its use.

One of the barriers to this program’s success is that many patients either won’t have a computer, or won’t have access to the internet. We have addressed this with a toll free number (877-581-3362) that Medicaid recipients can call to ask their question. Our call center is staffed by trained nursing personnel who will relay the message to the professional staff and then call the patient back after the answer has been posted.

In addition, we are finalizing an iPhone application that should be ready to go within a short time. We hope to use this new initiative to begin to address some of the health care disparities that exist in the state.

I hope that we will soon see the day that every single resident in our State, insured or not, will be able to log on ask one of our professionals a question that will, in some small way, improve their health!

*This blog post was originally published at eDocAmerica*

Mother’s Day – Coping Strategies For Those Who’ve Lost A Mom

Web pages and blogs are full of gift idea do’s and don’ts for your mother. I won’t go there. I think the topic has been covered quite nicely by better shoppers than I could ever hope to be.

You’ve also, no doubt, been bombarded with the plethora of tear jerker emails cautioning you to spend time with your mother while you can. She’s older than you, you know, and may not last until next year for you to make it up to her if you miss this Mother’s Day. That topic’s been covered too.

I’d like to talk with you a little bit about how to get through Mother’s Day after you’ve lost your mother. And I especially don’t want to forget the reverse situation; how to cope with Mother’s Day if you have lost a child, the hardest pain of all to overcome.

So how do you survive this Sunday if half of the equation is missing? You could hide under the covers until Monday. The protective property of the blanket works for monsters under the bed, why not against monsters of the heart as well? You could ignore that the day has any other meaning and treat it like any other Sunday, but that tends to backfire with a nasty trap of emotions smacking you back into reality the hard way at the worst possible time. Don’t let it catch you off guard; the day is coming whether you are ready for it or not. Or you could cry in your beer (over 21, please), but that just makes your eyes red and dilutes the beer.

Here are some coping strategies for bereavement:

  • Talk about it with a friend or family member you trust to handle the sensitive and powerful emotions you feel towards Mother’s Day
  • Realize that Mother’s Day is only one day out of the year and it has been commercially blown out of proportion and this too shall quickly pass
  • Be around friends who understand and can help you cope with the day
  • Acknowledge it can be a hard day and distract yourself with a movie or something that has a positive and endearing memory of what this day was initially designed to represent

And remember that your mother will always be your mother no matter where she is. And the same goes for mothers who have lost children. Once a mother, you will always be a mother even if you can no longer hold them in your arms.

If you are an eDocAmerica participant, you can send a message to the ePsych Psychologist for individualized coping strategies. Many people use this helpful option with good results whether it’s Mother’s Day or not.

All comments welcome.

*This blog post was originally published at eDocAmerica*

Reduce Your Risk Of Stroke In 4 Easy Steps

Stroke is a major cause of disability and death in the U.S. and worldwide. Modern medicines like statins (and old ones like aspirin) are helpful in preventing both initial and secondary stroke in patients at risk. But, are there simple things you can do to lower risk?

Yes, you say! Well, indeed, you are correct. Twenty thousand men and women (age range, 40–79) without histories of stroke or heart attack were recently analysed in the U.K. for the effect of 4 simple behaviors: not smoking, regular physical activity, moderate alcohol intake (1–14 drinks weekly), and high fruit and vegetable intake .

Patients engaging in 3 or 4 of the activities were significantly less likely (2 times!) to suffer a stroke over the next decade. Patients who slipped up a bit and only did 1 or 2 of the activities did have significant stroke risk, though not quite as much as those who sat on the sideline and engaged none of the behaviors.

So, grab the baton and step up to prevent stroke. As always, questions and comments are welcome.

*This blog post was originally published by Jerome Ecker, MD at the eDocAmerica blog.*

What Will It Take To Make Online Health Work?

“Internet 2.0” emphasizes social networking over simply downloading and reading “content”. The world of Twitter, blogging, facebook, e mail, and text messaging is revolutioning our society and rapidly becoming a major force in the way we work and play. It remains to be seen, however, how it will impact health care. There are many, many issues that are no where near resolution.

Although, at eDoc, we have been involved in online health for over a decade, we still run up against innumerable barriers and resistance factors that prevent this modality from truly becoming mainstream.

In order for this to occur, I believe the following needs to happen:

1. The team providing the service must be of high quality. This is difficult to determine in the best of circumstances and almost impossible in the often murky, even sleazy, world of internet
2.0. Until there is a better system for this, the user must be careful to scrutinize the credentials of the professionals involved and understand the business model behind the product. Check to make sure that the physicians are board certified. Beware of industry supported sites that are, essentially, using their web site to sell another product and “giving away” medical content or advice. If possible, find someone else who has used the service and ask whether the service is reputable. If you decide to try the service, dip your foot in the water and assess the quality of what you get back. If you like what you get, try again. If not, run in the other direction!

2. There has to be a widely available method for professional reimbursement. At eDoc, we developed a business model in which sponsoring corporations purchase the service on behalf of their employees or members. Most insurance companies do not cover on line visits with a physician but this is likely to be the case in the future; and, until that occurs, most docs won’t or can’t afford to, get on line to provide feedback or information to their patients.

3. Better tools are needeed. Although there are a lot of good web sites with good medical content, web tools are just starting to be designed to take advantage of the Web 2.0 world. Good, user-friendly, secure patient and provider portals will need to be connected to eprescribing hubs, will need to readily switch to search for internet sites to attach, will need to accept and view video footage, will need capability to connect through digital cameras for real time viewing and communication, and need easy to use, menu driven drop downs that guide the patient and provider through an online encounter.

For now, eDoc has a high quality team that uses a free form communication model and offers medical, dental, pharmaceutical and mental health professional advice. We are watching with eager anticipation to see what the future brings and, hopefully, we can stay ahead of the curve and continue to offer the highest quality online heath professional experience.

Your comments and dissenting opinions are welcome…

**This blog post was originally published by Dr. Charlie Smith at eDocAmerica’s blog**

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